Friedrich von Amerling: Franz II (I) in the robes of the Order of the Golden Fleece, oil painting, 1832

Rule & reign

As emperors, kings, archdukes and dukes the Habsburgs played a decisive role in shaping the history of Central Europe for more than six centuries. Nevertheless, there were times when Habsburg rule was disputed.
Who actually ruled, with what aims and with what means? What conflicts with other rulers arose as a result? How did ordinary people become aware of being ruled in their everyday lives and what rights and duties did they have? Who was excluded from political power? Who was ruled by the rulers and who was not?